Invisible colour: Landscapes of whiteness and racial identity in international development


  • Kristín Loftsdóttir

    1. Assistant Professor in anthropology at the University of Iceland. She conducted fieldwork among WoDaaBe pastoralists in Niger in West Africa, and researches racial identity and international development in Iceland. Her book The bush is sweet: Identity, power and development among WoDaaBe Fulani in Niger was published in 2008 by the Nordic Africa Institute. Her email address is
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Racialized identity in relation to international development is a surprisingly unanalyzed theme within anthropology, even though extensively explored in connection with contemporary western multi-cultural societies and historical relations between different parts of the world. In the paper I explore race and whiteness in relation to international development, emphasizing the importance of analyzing how the historical construction of racial identity continues to inform actual lived relationships of people belonging to different geographical spaces. In order to capture the importance of development in visual and everyday lives of people in different parts of the world, I use the term “developscape”, adapting Arjun Appadurai's (1996) idea of globalization consisting of different “scapes”, furhtermore, as asking how this “developscape” is racialized.